Thursday, December 5, 2013

Week 14 Picks

Week 13 recap:

8-8 straight up
5-11 against the spread
9-7 over/unders


125-65-1 straight up (65.7%)
95-88-8 against the spread (51.9%)
43-37-4 over/unders (53.7%)

This was my worst week in a long time.  The primary reason was a pathetic 2-7 ATS in the games with a spread of 5 points of fewer.  All those stupid 1-point spreads really killed me.  Also the overtime games all went against me, which is just bad luck.   And what's up with the historically awful Jaguars winning 3 out of 4?    

On the plus side, Detroit won by 30, Chicago lost, and the NFC North crown is within reach.  AND, I made the fantasy playoffs in two of the three leagues, thanks to some strange tiebreakers.  

Here are the week 14 picks: 

Texans (2-10) @ Jaguars (3-9)
Predicted Line:   HOU by 2.5
Actual Line:  HOU by 3 

After three long years of drafting Ben Tate, waiting for his big game, predicting his big game, starting him and routinely getting 1 or 2 points, I finally benched him (for Jordy Nelson in the flex, who had a marvelous 14 yards), and he exploded for 28 fantasy points.   It made me realize why I hate fantasy football. Now he goes against the worst team in the league, just in time for the fantasy playoffs, and I don't know if I can count on him for any more than 30 yards.  

This game is intriguing, because the best thing for both teams would be to lose.  This is essentially the Teddy Bridgewater Bowl.  With the news that Marcus Mariota is returning to Oregon next year, Bridgewater is the guaranteed #1 pick and will very likely be the franchise quarterback for whoever loses this game.  Three weeks ago, Jacksonville had Bridgewater all but secured, and then stupidly went on a winning streak and as a result could be without a franchise QB for another five years.    They can undo a lot of that damage by losing this game. 

But Houston seems more dedicated to tanking than anybody else.  They lost back-to-back home games in which they were 10+ point favorites.  Kubiak and Schaub are sitting ducks, already auditioning for new jobs next year. The Jags actually want to keep their coach, so they might keep trying.  But then again, Case Keenum wants to keep Bridgewater from taking his job, so he'll be trying too.  I guess I'll take Jacksonville +3, but say Houston wins on a late field goal, 20-19.  
(Under 43) 

Lions (7-5) @ Eagles (7-5)
Predicted Line:  PHI by 2.5
Actual Line:  PHI by 2.5

Two great offenses.  Two bad defenses. 

But looking at the rosters closely, it's apparent that Detroit is the better team on both sides of the ball.  While Nick Foles has been unfathomably good (19 TDs, 0 picks), and LeSean McCoy has a sparkling 4.7 YPC, and DeSean Jackson is the type of speedster who usually kills the Lions ... I still see Detroit as having the better offense, with Calvin, Bush/Bell, and Stafford playing the most consistently he's played in his career.  While the Lions are basically getting nothing from duds like Burleson/Broyles/Durham/Pettigrew/Fauria, they may have found a playmaker in Jeremy Ross, who obviously should have been playing since day 1.  That dude was only on the field for three offensive snaps against Green Bay and all he did was a 24-yard run and a 5 yard TD catch. Also, he's the best return man Detroit has had since Eddie Drummond.  RIP Michael Spurlock.  

But more importantly, Detroit's defense is far superior to Philadelphia's.  While the Lions' struggles in the secondary are notorious, it's the Eagles who rank 32nd against the pass, with absolutely nobody who has a chance to guard Calvin Johnson.   [It should be said that Philly's defense allows more yards than anybody else because they allow more plays than anybody else, because they run every offensive snap out of the no-huddle and create as many possessions for both teams as possible.  They are basically the NFL version of the old 7-seconds-or-less Phoenix Suns. And remember, those Suns teams had HORRIBLE defenses.]  

Philly's style plays right into Detroit's hands.  Stafford cherishes the chance to throw 60 times, Calvin might have 20 receptions, and Bush and Bell will combine for another 250 all-purpose yards.  If Philly wants an offensive slugfest, Detroit can match them point for point.  And the key is that the Lions D, with Suh and Levy playing like All Pros, can get some stops.  The pass rush is finally coming together, the run defense is stout (3rd best in the NFL right now), and this will allow the secondary to play dime on lots of 3rd and longs, which hopefully, hopefully, means we can force Foles to throw his first interceptions of the season.   Sure, the Eagles will put up 30+ points, DeSean and LeSean will both go over 100 yards easily, and some shmuck like Riley Cooper will catch a 65 yard TD, but the bottom line is I think Detroit can outscore Philly and beat them at their own game.   We have the better QB (barely), the better defense (by a good margin), and most importantly, we have the unstoppable Megatron.   That should outweigh the advantages Philly has with coaching and homefield.  

I like the Lions to win 41-38.
(Over 54.5) 

*EDIT:  It's going to be 30 degrees and snowy.  Yikes.  Let's make it Lions 27-24 and take the under.  

Chiefs (9-3) @ Redskins (3-9)
Predicted Line:  KC by 5.5
Actual Line:  KC by 3.5

Washington is in the mix for a top 3 pick, but I don't see them tanking.  Not with all the crap RG3 and Shanahan have already taken this year.   I'll take that half-point with the homedog.  Chiefs by 3.  31-28. 
(Over 45) 

Vikings (3-8-1) @ Ravens (6-6)
Predicted Line:   BAL by 5
Actual Line:  BAL by 7

In their last seven games, Baltimore has scored the following numbers of points (not in order): 
16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 20, 22.  

That's insane.  It also means this spread is too high, because Minnesota isn't likely to score 13 or fewer points. Not with Adrian Peterson.  

On the flip side, Minnesota needs to lose the rest of their games if they want a chance at the #1 pick.  And Baltimore is playing for the playoffs.   Still, I think the spread is too high.  Ravens 23-17. 
(Under 43) 

Browns (4-8) @ Patriots (9-3)
Predicted Line:  NE by 7.5
Actual Line:  NE by 10.5

The Browns won't be able to score many points as Talib shuts down Josh Gordon, but I think they'll score enough to cover.  Let's say Patriots 26-17. 
(Under 45) 

Raiders (5-7) @ Jets (5-7)
Predicted Line:  NYJ by 3.5

Actual Line:  NYJ by 2.5

80% of Vegas is supporting Matt McGloin on the road? Really??? I mean, you've got Rex Ryan's job on the line (again), you've got Oakland on the East Coast at 1pm, and all the Jets need to do is win by 3?  What am I missing?   (Oh ... the fact that Geno Smith has put together one of the worst five-game stretches of quarterbacking in NFL history. Now I rememeber.)   Still, I can't trust McGloin on the road.   Jets 16-6. 
(Under 40.5)

Just for kicks, let's look at Geno's numbers over the past five games:  
49 completions on 104 attempts (47%) for 533 yards, 0 TDs, 8 picks, and 34 rushing yards. 
Per game, that equates to: 
9 for 21 for 106 yards, 0 TDs and 1.6 picks, with 7 rushing yards. 

I wonder if Jets fans miss Mark Sanchez yet?  

Colts (8-4) @ Bengals (8-4)
Predicted Line:  CIN by 2.5
Actual Line:  CIN by 6

I know Andrew Luck is going to break out of this funk eventually.  Even though all common sense says to take Cincy and lay the points, I'm believing Luck can at least keep this one close.  Bengals 24-20. 
(Over 43) 

Dolphins (6-6) @ Steelers (5-7)
Predicted Line: PIT by 4

Actual Line:  PIT by 3

Just realized I've picked 6 underdogs and 1 favorite so far.  Good thing I was leaning toward the Steelers already.  Pittsburgh 27-23. 
(Over 41) 

Falcons (3-9) @ Packers (5-6-1)
Predicted Line:  GB by 1
Actual Line:  ? 

Aaron Rodgers is practicing with pads, but sharing first-team snaps with Flynn and Tolzien.  There's no line at this point.  If Rodgers plays, the line should inflate to GB by 10 or 12, and in that case I'll take Atlanta to cover due to Rogers' likely rustiness.  If Rodgers doesn't play, Green Bay will be a small favorite, and I'll take the Pack.  I'm not thinking Matt Ryan will be very successful in the freezing snow in a game that's meaningless for him.   Stay tuned. 

Bills (4-8) @ Bucs (3-9)
Predicted Line:  TB by 3

Actual Line:  TB by 2.5

This may be the most meaningless game of the entire season so far.   The Bills have the better team, but they stink on the road.  Guess I'll take Tampa by 3.  
(Under 43) 

Titans (5-7) @ Broncos (10-2)
Predicted Line:  DEN by 14.5
Actual Line:  DEN by 13 

I know I should take the points because of bad weather and the possibility of a backdoor cover.   But I just can't see the Titans staying in this game.  Denver 34-17.  
(Over 49) 

Rams (5-7) @ Cardinals (7-5)
Predicted Line:  ARZ by 6

Actual Line:  ARZ by 6 

Cards 20-13. 
(Under 42) 

Giants (5-7) @ Chargers (5-7)
Predicted Line:  SD by 5
Actual Line:  SD by 3.5

Bolts 24-17. 
(Under 47.5) 

Seahawks (11-1) @ 49ers (8-4)
Predicted Line:  SF by 2.5
Actual Line:  SF by 3

Seattle 20-16. 
(Under 41.5) 

Panthers (9-3) @ Saints (9-3)
Predicted Line:  NO by 4.5
Actual Line:  NO by 3.5

Saints 34-27. 
(Over 46.5)

Cowboys (7-5) @ Bears (6-6)
Predicted Line:  CHI by 1

Actual Line:  DAL by 1 

Cowboys 26-20. 
(Under 48) 

Go Lions!! 

No comments:

Post a Comment